An extract from my childhood diary as I was approaching my 13th birthday. We are staying in a caravan in Cornwall for our annual summer holiday.
in the morning went to land’s end it is good
went in the car took ages traffic jam
had lunch by the sea and the cliffs
in the afternoon
went on a lifeboat and made a model of sand mixture with glue too
watched a film about the sea
dates last day
tomorrow last day
weather rain + cool temp 22
summery v. good day enjoyed it
It took me a long time to decipher the pencilled scrawl I was using back then. My handwriting appears to have got much worse over the preceding months. Much of that seems to be due to my insistence to fill all the available space. Rather than writing any extra thoughts to achieve this, I have simply stretched the words out by writing larger letters to make sure I got to the right hand margin.
Reading back over this and since I hadn’t really mastered using any kind of detail, I have so many questions. What was the film? Why was using glue so notable? How did I count 22 degrees as being cool? What does ‘dates last day’ actually mean? Why wasn’t I using grammar?
One thing I have managed to decipher was my day classification system used on the first line. This day was ‘day good’. Other days in the same week were ‘day alright’ (visit to Sea Life centre) ‘day alright-good’ (French boules tournament) and even ‘day bad-ok’ (missed crazy golf due to an undocumented reason). I had a great fondness for crazy golf and on one memorable day, hit my ball into a pond and then dropped my club in too while trying to retrieve the ball.
I chose this diary entry to write about as I have a clear memory of going to Land’s End and getting a family photo (which I have failed to find) next to the famous sign. I was surprised that a whole village of tourist stuff had built up around Land’s End; shops, cafes, pubs, holiday cottages all rather ruining the remote idyll of being at the end of the land. While travelling as an adult, I have found that this is typical, Niagara Falls has it’s own casino, the Pyramids in Egypt have a branch of Pizza Hut while ancient stones at Machu Picchu were moved to build a helipad.
One thing that is very me is visiting a lifeboat station. I didn’t remember my interest going that far back but I have been to many stations since and at one point even ran tours around them. More recently I have been asked (several times) to volunteer but there is no way my autistic brain could cope with that. Maybe if people could pre-book their emergencies so I would have time to prepare taking care to ensure the weather and time of day were suitable (going out in the dark is no good) then I would be in with a chance.
One thing that is becoming clear, I am unlikely to join the ranks of Samuel Pypes and Anne Frank as a leading diarist with my weather and traffic jam observations.